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The Keystone Cannabis Coalition will hold a rally in York City on Saturday to drum up support for legalizing medical cannabis and decriminalizing hemp.

The rally will mark the one-year anniversary (Oct. 20, 2014) of Philadelphia's decriminalization of possession of a small amount of marijuana and smoking it in public.

Anyone caught by police with a small amount of marijuana in the City of Brotherly Love can be cited with a summary offense, which is equal to a traffic ticket, that carries a $25 fine.

"The benefits are cost savings for the government and less of an impact on people's lives," said Erica McBride, spokeswoman for the cannabis coalition. "Full legalization is the way to go, but with Pennsylvania being so conservative, taking baby steps is the best bet."

The coalition is a statewide organization dedicated to reforming the laws against cannabis and hemp in the state.

Bills: The coalition is putting its weight behind a series of bills in the state Legislature to either legalize medical cannabis or decriminalize hemp.

Senate Bill 3, sponsored by Republican state Sen. Mike Folmer, who represents parts of York County, would give Pennsylvanians suffering from some illnesses access to a medical form of cannabis.

A handful of drug delivery methods that do not involve smoking it would be permitted under the bill. Methods include extracted oil, edible products, ointments and tinctures.

That bill, which has received bipartisan support, is in the House Rules Committee.

Two other bills, House Bill 967 and Senate Bill 50, would allow for the cultivation of industrial hemp, which could be used in textiles, building materials, industrial products, baby care, food and paper applications.

Both bills are in the Agriculture and Rural Affairs committees in their respective legislative chambers.

Rally: Numerous featured speakers, including hemp historian and author Les Stark, defense attorney William Cooke representing Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Lolly Bentch Meyers, a medical cannabis activist, will take part in the rally.

The rally will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Continental Square, according to the coalition.

It will be the third such rally held by the coalition in York.

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.

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